Poetry: My Perspective with a Connection to "The Lovely Bones" by Alice Sebold
Poetry - An Outlet to Vent, Rage, Heal, and Understand
I am not much of a poet. I don't often write poems. I certainly do not put in the time or effort to craft my poetry muscle, like so many great poets do. But on occasion, a poem comes pouring out of me. I tend to write them down, revise them in the moment and then let them sit. After a time, I go back and read the poem again. I think about revision, but then let the poem rest, as poetry is writing in the moment, for me anyway. Poems capture an image or a feeling or a moment. Many of the poems that have erupted from me over the years have been too personal to share, as poetry so often comes from the rawest moments of our lives. I tuck my poems away in journals or in books, so that they can surprise me and remind me. In a rare moment, I am going to share two poems I found this morning as I searched for the file of an old lesson plan I wanted to consult.
I have just finished listening to The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. It is a book that was on my pile of books to read for years, and finally I picked up the audio book at the library to listen to in my car. It is the story of a young girl, Suzy, who is raped and murdered. The story is narrated by Suzy as she looks down on her family from heaven. There are so many moments in the story where Suzy wishes that she could reconnect with her living family on earth. She reveals herself to her family and her friends, but often they miss it. All of these moments in the novel remind me of a poem I wrote after my grandfather died so many years ago. I wrote it and then tucked it away, never sharing it. I suppose at that young age I was afraid to expose myself to the world. It is nice to look back at the young writer I was.
Billybuc expresses similar thoughts to my poem in his hub...
- An Open Letter To Mr. Death
The author has a chat with Death and lets him know that no matter how hard he tries, he can never take our loved ones away from us.
As the wind rushes by my ears
on a warm summer evening
Or as the rain runs down my face
on a foggy spring morning
And when the sun shines in my eyes
so bright and round and true,
I think of you with fond memories
the things you said,
the tears we cried,
the happy smiles,
And I know you’re in my heart.
I often wonder, as Sebold’s Suzy did, if there is indeed a connection between the living and the dead. I wonder this when a random thought of my grandmother jumps into my head when I am at my busiest. I wonder this when a loved one who has passed on lingers in my dreams. Whatever a person believes exists beyond this earth, it is a nice idea that our loved ones are present all around us.
As hard as life can sometimes be, it is the life we have. So when I hear of a young life lost or taken or wasted, it makes me wonder at the loss. What could a person lost so young have become? Why are some lives taken so violently, as in The Lovely Bones and so many real life scenarios? Why do some people choose to take the only life they have been given? In April 2000, I wrote the poem that follows below. I wrote it after I heard the story of a local college student who had jumped to his death from a bridge. I didn’t know this person, yet his death had an impact that prompted one of the rare occasions where a poem does pour out of me. I suppose it was my attempt to understand this action that for me is not understandable.
Jumper, Please tell me why
Leaning over the edge
staring down into eternity,
does something beckon you?
Is the pull too strong?
You succumb to it and lean too far.
Falling. Falling. Falling…
Perhaps panic strikes you.
Falling too fast, yet faster still -
There is no one there to catch you.
Do you cry out,
or does your breath hang above you
teetering on the edge?
Maybe peace and tranquility hold you.
You waft, a feather on the breeze.
Like Sylvia, you fall
back, back, back
into the womb.
Is life so bad you have to try again?
In life there are no do-overs.
In life there are no do-overs. Living this life I have been given, I appreciate and cherish the occasions when I can pour my thoughts and feelings onto the page. I think Alice Sebold did that in her novel. Writing, poems and prose alike, is an outlet that allows so many writers to vent and rage and heal. I am thankful for that, especially in those moments of loss and confusion.
Poems and article are the original work of Donna Hilbrandt. All rights reserved.